POLITICS
10/31/2014 06:50 pm ET Updated Nov 03, 2014

U.S. Postal Service Is Worried About What Climate Change Will Mean For Mail

Bob Berg via Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Postal Service has a reputation for being unstoppable. And while rain, snow and gloom of night can't stop the U.S. mail, the heat just might.

The Council on Environmental Quality, the White House office overseeing environmental issues, released plans on Friday from 38 federal agencies that detail how they each may need to adapt to climate change. Some of the agencies' concerns are to be expected: The U.S. Forest Service is looking at the threat of wildfires, the National Park Service is assessing how parks might be affected and the Department of Defense is looking at effects on conflicts abroad.

The Postal Service, however, has some worries of its own.

From the CEQ:

The Postal Service is concerned that increased flooding, rising sea levels, more intense weather events, and changes in temperature and precipitation patterns could disrupt its ability to provide mail service and increase costs for maintaining infrastructure. These issues could jeopardize delivery to Postal Service customers and the safety of the nearly 500,000 USPS employees who deliver mail and perform other critical tasks.

The Postal Service's climate adaptation plan, which it completed in June, elaborates further, noting that major precipitation events and more days with temperatures that are hotter than average could pose challenges for their employees. And given that nearly 40 percent of the United States population lives in coastal areas, sea level rise driven by climate change could put many of the service's facilities and staff in risky areas.

The Postal Service says in its report that it is currently reviewing its facility locations and making decisions about future leases and construction. It is also assessing how rising temperatures might affect its equipment.

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